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Osinbajo applauds Awolowo’s foresight on Zero Oil Plan

According to the vice president, the plan is well structured and detailed.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has commended Chief Segun Awolowo, the outgoing Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), over his foresight in drawing up the Zero Oil Plan.

Osinbajo gave the commendation when Awolowo led an NEPC delegation on a valedictory visit to the vice president on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Zero Oil Plan, initiated and developed by NEPC, under Awolowo, is designed to move Nigeria away from being an oil-dependent economy to an export-based economy.

According to the vice president, the plan is well structured and detailed.

“Let me very quickly say that the Zero Oil Plan which is the basis for NEPC’s particular direction and in many ways the efforts of government in looking at an alternative to oil in a structured planned way.

“I think it is significant that that in many ways will define the work that you do while you were in NEPC.

“At a very important time because there is no question at all that we are moving away from the oil and gas era.

“And today, it is more evident especially after COP 26.’’

Osinbajo said that public investments from the EU, multilateral organisations for oil and gas were certainly going to dwindle.

He said that policy makers must be in consonance with the inevitable course of the Zero Oil Plan.

“So, I really want to commend you for your foresight in putting in a place a plan of action; an influential plan for that matter because it was well thought out and also very well structured and detailed.

“Adding the Export Expansion Facility Programme(EEFP) is a natural progression for the Zero Oil Plan.

“`If you say you have a Zero Oil Plan, then you must have a way of improving exports in particular because oil is our major export; our major foreign exchange earner; so if you are going to replace it, you must have a robust export plan.

“I think that the EEFP is an incredibly wide door for exports in our country.’’

Osinbajo acknowledged that the challenges of actualising the plan were many.

He said that agro-export was the highest category of export that Nigeria had but ago-exporters had serious problems especially with the process.

“With the trade process, the process of export, going through the port; going through all of that.

“We are still trying to resolve these and then all sorts of other enabling business type situations.

“So, I think that we are set on the right path and I like the fact that we are focused on non oil export and we facing the challenges head-on and some of them we still have not discovered but there is no question at all that is going to go.

“And we have all the facilities and all the intelligence to ensure that this works that this Zero Oil Plan works.’’

He said that plan would create opportunities as there would be value-added.

According to him, there is a value-chain that will be significant and it will create opportunities for the people and at the same time.

The vice president urged Awolowo to always lend his support towards bringing the plan to fruition even as he exited office.

“Just to say that I hope that in your leaving this particular assignment, you are also thinking about how to back and support and this; because as far as I am concerned, this is a life long.

“Anyone who sets out to change the economic direction of a country by a vision must be ready to do whether you are in public service or out of public service.

“I hope that you will continue this great work and also hope that those who are going to be taking over in the NEPC will find that this is something we have to build on; there is no point wavering or looking for other things to do.

“You already have something to do and I think that what the whole world is waiting is whether or not we will succeed in this path that we have chosen and I think that if the beginning is anything to go by, then the future certainly is going to be excellent.

“Just to commend you again and to thank you for this visit and to wish you well in your future endeavours and to hope that all of those who you are leaving behind after about eight years in the public service and in the NEPC will find sufficient inspiration and guidance from all that you have done in that period to be able to build on it and do even better,’’ he said.

On his part, Awolowo said the essence of the visit was to thank the government for giving the opportunity to serve in NEPC and particularly for the support on the Zero Oil Plan.

He said that the Zero Oil Plan, started seven years ago, would put Nigeria on the track of generating foreign exchange away from oil.

There was also a power point presentation in which the vice president was shown how EEFP was run

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Olafare Michael Oluwabukola
A Nationa Diploma holder in Computer Science at LENS POLYTECHNIC Offa, a full-time blogger, beatmaker, modern graphics designer, talent manager, and a vocalist


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